Marking Girls’Day at the Fraunhofer institutes in Stuttgart
The thirteenth Girls’Day event will take place throughout Germany on April 25, 2013. It provides school students with an insight into professions that girls rarely consider when choosing their careers. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s Institute Center Stuttgart offers participants the chance to immerse themselves in the world of research.
What to do after leaving school? After finishing secondary school, bright and well-educated young women in Germany still tend to opt for “women’s careers” when faced with this decision, pursuing paths that do not make the most of the career options available to them. At the same time, there is a dearth of qualified young talent going into engineering and technology-related fields. In a bid to inspire young women to consider careers in the technical field, an annual Girls’Day event has been held throughout Germany every year since 2001. As part of this initiative, the Fraunhofer institutes in Stuttgart are inviting interested school students aged 10 and upwards to come and find out more about MINT careers (careers in the mathematical, information technology, natural sciences and technology fields).
And this means: hands-on research! Between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., scientists at Fraunhofer IAO will give participants an insight into the exciting topics they are currently working on. The girls will be introduced to new developments in the field of electromobility during a visit to the Mobility Innovation Lab, where they will have the chance to design their own city of the future and try out for themselves whether they would prefer to travel by electric car, electric scooter or electric bicycle. The Immersive Engineering Lab will invite participants to take a stroll through virtual worlds, transporting them to places that do not yet exist in real life. The Interaction Laboratory and Usability Laboratory will show systems currently under development that enable users to “interact with all their senses”, enabling them to “click with their eyes”, for example. In the Vehicle Interaction Lab’s driving simulator, students will experience how driver assistance systems can warn drivers about obstacles and increases in speed, and even prevent them from falling asleep at the wheel. The motto for the Girls’Day event at Fraunhofer IAO is “don’t just watch, join in”, with the added plus that the initiative gives the girls a chance to start building up professional contacts.
Girls’Day was launched 13 years ago by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the project is credited with having led to a definite increase in the number of female specialists in recent years. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of female engineers increased by 25 percent, and the number of female scientists went up by more than a third.